In this digital era, without offering some kind or other of digital payments, modern and new businesses can hardly expect to grow. If a lot of your business profit hinges on your online presence, like many Online Translation Services and Translation Agencies, cash will no longer be viable. Luckily, however, there are loads of options offering digital payment and giving you the freedom to choose the one that is right for you and your business.
What Is Digital Payment?
Digital payment, also known as electronic payment and e-payment, is a transaction processed through a digital or an online medium without involving any physical exchange of money. It is the process of transferring a specific value from one payment account to another using a digital device such as a mobile phone, a Point of Sales (POS) or a computer, by means of a digital communication channel such as wireless data transmission via mobile phone or the protocol of Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT).
This comprises processing the digital payment through bank transfers, mobile money, and payment cards, including credit, debit, and prepaid cards.
There is no universal definition of digital payments, as they can be partially digital, mainly digital or fully digital. An example of the partially digital payment is one where both the payer and the payee use cash via third-party providers, who make the digital bank transfers at the backend. A digital payment could mainly be one where the payer initiates the payment digitally to an agent who receives it also digitally, but the payee receives the payment in cash from that agent.
However, processing money using this method requires great caution as entering any wrong account number means that your money will never reach its intended destination nor make its way back to you.
The fully digital payment is the payment you make with your own digital assets, when you purchase any online product/service that uses digital currency such as Cryptocurrency, which will be discussed later in this article.
Therefore, the definition of digital payment can vary. One definition emphasizes the interface between the payer and the payee as a defining element. Another defines the digital payment in terms of the payment instrument or some other variable. These definitional choices become particularly relevant when the objective is to estimate the number or proportion of the digital payment transactions in a particular use case, organization, company, country, or region.
Investopedia discusses digital payments, digital transactions, and how it works in detail in its article “Digital Transactions“.
Digital Payment Methods
After COVID-19 pandemic, the aim worldwide has been to turn the world into a cashless community. As part of promoting cashless transactions and converting the world into a less-cash community, various modes of digital payment options are offered. These include:
- Banking Cards: These comprise Debit, Credit, and Pre-paid Cards. These cards empower individuals to purchase items in stores, on the internet, by mail-order catalogues, and on the phone. They not only save customers and merchants time and money, but also enable easier and quicker transactions.
- USSD: The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data is a communication protocol for mobile phones. By using USSD codes, you get access to web-based services without the need to install a dedicated mobile app.
- Mobile Wallets: A mobile wallet is a means of carrying cash in a digital format. This is done by linking your credit card or debit card information in your mobile device to a mobile wallet application. It can also be done by transferring your money online to a mobile wallet. Instead of using your physical cards to make purchases, you can pay with your smartphone, tablet, or smart watch. However, this entails creating an individual account and linking it to the digital wallet to load money in it.
- Point of Sale: A Point of Sale (PoS) is the place where sales are made. On a macro level, a PoS may be a mall, a market or a city. On a micro level, retailers consider a PoS to be the area where a customer completes a transaction, such as a checkout counter. It is also known as a point of purchase.
- Internet Banking: Internet banking, also known as online banking, e-banking or virtual banking, is an electronic payment system that enables customers of a bank or other financial institution to conduct a range of financial transactions through the online interface of said bank’s or financial institution’s website. This will be discussed further to show differences between Internet Banking (Online Banking) Vs Digital Banking.
- Mobile Banking: Mobile banking is a service provided by a bank or a financial institution that enables its customers to conduct various financial transactions remotely with a mobile device such as a mobile phone or tablet. It uses a software, app, provided by the said bank or financial institution for the purpose. Each Bank provides its own mobile banking App for Android, Windows, and iOS mobile platforms.
- Micro ATMs: Micro ATMs are card swipe machines through which banks can remotely connect to their core banking system. These machines come with fingerprint scanners attached to them. In other words, micro ATMs are handheld point of sale terminals used to disburse cash in remote locations where bank branches cannot be reached. The basic transaction types, to be supported by micro ATM, are Deposit, Withdrawal, Fund transfer and Balance enquiry.
2021 Digital Payments Total Transaction Value
Percentage Of Annual Growth Rate
Projected Total Transaction Value In 2025
Digital Commerce Total Transaction Value
Advanced Digital Payment Options
1. Devices with Biometric Authentication
In these types of digital payment, customers pay digitally, which increases the need for security. A biometric authentication is a form of verification that uses fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, iris recognition, heartbeat analysis and vein mapping to prevent identity theft and fraud.
Currently, many digital wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, use fingerprints or facial recognition, and more options are in the works. Visa, for example, is testing a biometric payment card that allows users to confirm the authenticity of a transaction by tapping a sensor on the card which determines if the fingerprint matches, rather than entering a PIN code or signing a receipt.
By 2021, it is expected that there will be more than 18 billion biometric transactions per year. As a business owner, it is important to protect both your data and that of your customers, and biometric authentication is a promising way to achieve both goals.
2. Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS)
Convenient payment processing is expected to be a top priority for businesses today, as there will be 27.7 million mPOS devices by 2021, up from 3.2 million in 2014. Mobile POS systems are tablets, smartphones or other wireless devices that use an app and a card reader to process payments like a cash register.
These types of digital payment give businesses the freedom to eliminate a central checkout area and accept payments from anywhere in their shop, even outside the shop. You can, for example, move your payment system to a trade fair or other off-site location without worrying about how transactions are processed. Customers can swipe their credit or debit cards through the card reader connected to your device and make a purchase instantly – it’s that simple.
3. Contactless Payment
There are several mobile payment applications that enable users to transfer money, buy goods, pay bills, and perform almost any other type of financial transaction, all at the touch of a button. By creating an account and storing payment details, purchasing goods and services with a mobile phone is quick and easy.
Examples of this digital payment technology include Venmo (which is also used for payments between individuals), PayPal, Google Pay (formerly known as Google Wallet), Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Giving customers the ability to make electronic payments with their wallet or other mobile payment app offers unbeatable convenience.
4. Intelligent Speakers
Voice commands are no longer a futuristic concept. Through smart speakers such as Google Home, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo, consumers can give a voice command to make an immediate payment or purchase. In fact, 35% of users purchase products such as home care, groceries and clothing through their smart speakers.
Some consumers worry that this may not be the safest way to shop. Nevertheless, this digital payment trend is expected to grow to 77.9 million users by 2022 (from 18.4 million in 2017). With such growth, it is important to optimize your online shop for voice search so that your business can be easily recognizable through tools like Smart Speaker.
5. Payment Options for Social Media
Social networks have extended their reach to payment solutions, such as transferring money from one user to another (P2P payments) or from a consumer to a merchant directly on the social network.
An overwhelming number of Millennials turn to social media when shopping. An Animoto study found that 75% of Millennials’ purchase decisions are influenced by a brand’s social media presence.
With Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest all offer merchant accounts that allow brands to sell to consumers, digital payment transactions are made directly on the site for a small fee. According to a 2018 survey by Avionos, 55% of online shoppers have made a purchase through social media channels.
Online Banking Vs Digital Banking
The above digital payment options discussed Online Banking as one of the types of digital payment. It is, therefore, advisable to know the differences between both Digital Banking and Online Banking, and what each of them exactly signifies.
Simply put, online banking is a service that gives access to the customers of a bank (or other financial institutions) to perform basic banking transactions over the internet on the bank’s website. Typically, the banking activities are transactions that are centred around account management, funds transfers and bills payment. Internet banking, e-banking, and virtual banking are all synonyms to online banking.
While online banking involves digitizing the fundamental aspects of banking, digital banking encompasses digitizing every program and activity undertaken by financial institutions and their customers.
Online banking is a means that enables you to process core transactions via your laptop, desktop computer, or smartphone. As a business owner, you will be able to view and access your business accounts online. Therefore, you no longer need to visit your bank’s physical branch to manage our financial transactions.
Through online banking, you can securely process many transactions either by logging on to a mobile app or on your phone. These include:
- Transferring money to associates/family
- Paying bills
- Setting up and cancelling Direct Debits
- Checking balances and rectifying any accidental slips
- Moving money between accounts
- Sending money internationally
Although online banking deals only with the essential transactions; digital banking goes much deeper to the nuts and bolts those customers need to effortlessly manage their finances. It mandates comprehensive re-engineering of a bank’s internal systems by potentially encompassing every digital program and transaction ever undertaken by either a financial institution or the customers that they serve. Digital banking utilises historical, transactional and profile data on order to come up with predictive offerings such as booking tickets and shopping online. It helps business owners to run the back end of their business efficiently and allows consumers to enjoy the 24/7, 365 shopping experience.
By fully embracing the latest in digital technology, banks and other financial institutions are set to benefit in the following ways:
- Reduced costs and overheads – Turning to digital banking eliminates the need to invest in hardware or software to ensure that systems are always up to date.
- Increase in sales – the ability to make use of the psyche of their customers gives them a competitive advantage over those reliant on other methods.
- Enhanced customer experience – this signifies more customers and a better chance of retaining the already existing ones.
- Full compliance – Digital banking and technologies make it easier to stay compliant with the latest regulations than older systems.
As defined by Wikipedia, cryptocurrency or crypto is a digital asset designed to work as a financial medium of exchange. In these exchanges, individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger saved as a form of a computerized database by means of cryptography to secure transaction records, control the creation of additional coins, and verify the transfer of coin ownership. It does not exist in physical form and is not issued by any central authority.
Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency that began to be used in 2009 when its implementation was released as open-source software. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or administrator. It can be sent from one user to another on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography, which are then recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services, but the real-world value of the coins is extremely volatile. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimated that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Users choose to participate in the digital currency for a number of reasons: ideologies such as commitment to anarchism, decentralization and libertarianism, convenience, using the currency as an investment and pseudonymity of transactions. Increased use has led to a desire among governments for regulation in order to tax, facilitate legal use in trade and for other reasons (such as investigations for money laundering and price manipulation).
The overwhelming majority of bitcoin transactions take place on a cryptocurrency exchange, rather than being used in transactions with merchants. Delays processing payments through the blockchain of about ten minutes make bitcoin use very difficult in a retail setting. Prices are not usually quoted in units of bitcoin and many trades involve one, or sometimes two, conversions into conventional currencies. Merchants that do accept bitcoin payments may use payment service providers to perform the conversions.
In 2017 and 2018 bitcoin’s acceptance among major online retailers included only three of the top 500 U.S. online merchants, down from five in 2016. Reasons for this decline include high transaction fees due to bitcoin’s scalability issues and long transaction times.
Digital goods or e-goods are intangible goods available in digital form. Examples of digital goods are countless, and the range is extensively wide. They can be e-books, downloadable music, internet radio, internet television and streaming media; fonts, logos, photos and graphics; digital subscriptions; online ads (as purchased by the advertiser); internet coupons; electronic tickets; downloadable software and mobile apps; cloud-based applications and online games; virtual goods used within the virtual economies of online games and communities; workbooks; worksheets; planners; e-learning (online courses); webinars, video tutorials, blog posts; cards; patterns; website themes; templates and much more.
Digital Payment & Translation Services
Digital payment options are gaining popularity worldwide that many applications are being frequently launched in many industries. The speed of transactions, the automated error-free procedures, the immediate accessibility from anywhere, the minimal charges involved in the process, and the secure form of payments have made it a hassle-free preferred payment option, especially in the Translation Services arena.
This is attributed to the fact that most translation companies have a wide network of freelance translators scattered all over the world, who receive monthly payments that range from small to medium amounts of money. In such cases, the aim of both translation companies and their freelance partners is to receive their payments with minimum processing fees and charges. Because digital payment is automated, their fees are minimal compared to other traditional payment options. They are, therefore, the preferred payment option to translation companies and their freelance translators alike.
Having to deal with many clients on the local, regional, and global level, digital payment has made it increasingly easy for these translation companies to deal with their global clients as much as they already did with their worldwide freelance collaborators. From the comfort of their home or office, clients can order the translation of documents, receive their translated files, and even pay for the service online. By simply installing a plain plugin on their website, they can accept payments from clients in any part of the world.
Treated as digital goods, translation services involve many advantages. These include cheap transaction costs, fast transfers, increased sales, reaching more clients, meeting clients demand for a consistent experience across sales channels, enhanced security, increased productivity and finally permitted business expansion.
More interesting information about translation and localization can be accessed by checking our article “For A Comprehensive Understanding of Your Translation Needs” and “14 Incredible Benefits of Website Localization You Shouldn’t Miss“.
Advantages Of Digital Payment
- Faster, easier, and more convenient: perhaps one of the major advantages of digital payment is that paying digitally speeds up the payment process and eliminates the need to fill in a lot of information. You no longer must queue to get cash from an ATM or carry cards in your wallet. With the shift to digital technology, banking services will be available to customers 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including public holidays. Many services, such as digital wallets, UPI, etc., operate on this basis.
- Cheap and lower transaction costs: There are many payment applications and mobile wallets that do not charge any service or processing fees for the service offered. UPI is one such example where services are free of charge for the customer. Several digital payment systems reduce cost.
- Exemptions, discounts, and cashback: There are many rewards and discounts available for customers using digital payment applications and mobile wallets. There are attractive cash back offers offered by many digital payment apps. These digital goods are an advantage for customers and a motivating factor for not using cash.
- Digital recording of transactions: Another benefit of digital goods is that all transaction records can be kept. Customers can keep track of all transactions made, no matter how small the amount of the transaction.
- Pay bills in one go: Many digital wallets and payment apps have become a convenient platform for paying bills. Be it mobile, internet or electricity bills, all bills can be easily paid through a single app.
- Enhances control of black money: digital transactions help the government to track and stop the circulation of black money and counterfeit notes in the long run. In addition, this can also boost the economy by reducing the cost of minting currency.
When considering offering a digital payment to your clients, it is important to evaluate both the needs of your business and those of your clients. Where these are different, the variety of digital payment options can provide a solution that will allow you to compromise. Giving customers the option to pay digitally is considered an indispensable service, and thanks to the proliferation of e-wallets and other digital payment options, it is so easy to do. A quick look at the burst of home-based businesses selling on Etsy and Facebook and taking payments through PayPal and Stripe is enough motivation.
With transparent fee structures and a wide customer base, digital payment offers online retailers an invaluable benefit by making it effortless for customers to make a purchase. With younger users growing more technologically savvy, it looks like e-wallets and digital payments will soon become more norm than novelty, and businesses will need to recognise this in order to keep abreast of the times.